We talk about "feeling good" all the time. We often say to ourselves: " I just want to feel good" or "I just want to feel better." Or maybe we say: "I just want to be happy." In each of these instances, we're asking for the same state of well-being. Yet, what does this "feel good" state really consist of?
I've realized that self-love is the primary ingredient to "feeling good." Self-love is based in self-acceptance and results in self-care. If you want to feel good, you must first be willing to accept every part of yourself. You then must be willing to love your whole self, including the parts of yourself you don't like so much. When you do this, you give yourself the tools necessary to deeply care for yourself on emotional, physical, and spiritual levels.
Now what does self-acceptance, self-love and self-care entail? Let's break it down:
Self-acceptance means that you're able to be on your own side regardless of where you find yourself emotionally, mentally, or even physically. So, if you find yourself criticizing yourself, being negative about your progress, or second-guessing yourself, you're not on your own side. To get on your own side, begin to treat yourself the same way you would treat someone you love and respect.
Self-love means that you maintain a loving perspective towards yourself at all times. For example, even if you don't like the way you're acting or you don't get the results you wanted, you still know deep down that you have value and are worthy of unconditional love.
Self-care is your ability to put self-love and self-acceptance into practice. It's not about doing something that is supposed to be healthy as much as it's caring for yourself in the most basic and intrinsic ways.
Taken together, these three key ingredients create an exceptional level of health, fulfillment and ultimately success. They are mutually reinforcing qualities. So, enhancing your self-acceptance will naturally propel your self-love and self-care.
Here are some steps you can take to bring more self-acceptance, self-love and self-care into your life and to nurture a "feel good" state of being.
- Find the benefits of your less than desirable qualities. Every part of us has value, even if this value is not always immediately apparent. If we learn to listen to our less than desirable qualities - to our hurt or fear - we can start to learn how these qualities have been beneficial to us, even if we're ready to let them go as we move forward.
- Practice loving others even if you don't like their behavior or beliefs. Loving someone doesn't mean tolerating bad behavior or having no boundaries. Loving someone includes boundaries and even getting upset when someone has wronged you. So, you don't need to let go of love if someone's behavior conflicts with your beliefs about what is right and what is wrong.
- Love yourself like you love others. There are people in your life - like your children or your partner - that you love despite their flaws. Pay attention to how and why you're able to do this. Then apply those principles to yourself.
- Do what feels really good. You might say: "If I always did what feels good, I would be fat or get nothing done." Or you might say: "If I always did what feels good, I'd over-indulge myself." Yet, indulgence and feeling good are not always the same thing! Pay attention to how you to feel when you figure out what really makes you feel good. And then, do more of it.
"Go forth and set the world on fire." - St. Ignatius Loyola
If the words above ignite your spirit - read on.
If your life goals were simply to be rich and famous, you would pursue the schooling, social circles and environments that would help you achieve this. Yet, what if your life goals are bigger than this? Where do you go to study and practice the consciousness skills that will help you bring compassion and healing to yourself and others?
by Dr Kate Siner